B Vitamins for cats have numerous benefits and are critical to your pet living a healthy and a long life. All B class vitamins are part of the water soluble class of vitamin and there is absolutely no danger of toxicity ever to your pet. Unlike fat-soluble vitamins that are stored in your cat's liver and can build up in the body over time, water soluble vitamins must be replaced daily in your cat.
Water soluble vitamins can very easily dissolve in the watery fluids of your pet's body. Any excesses amounts will be excreted through their urine which totally eliminates any risk of toxicity; however, it puts your cat more at risk for a deficiency.
B vitamins for cats can be found in their food, but only in very small amounts. The heat process that is involved with manufacturing commercial foods can destroy these vital vitamins in this process. Combine this with the small amounts found in foods, if you are not supplementing them, your cat could face a vitamin deficiency very easily.
B vitamin Functions:
Thiamin is also known as Vitamin B1 and it was the first water soluble vitamin that was identified. It functions in your cat by assisting the muscles and nerves by converting glucose into energy. Glucose is also referred to as starch sugar and it is the principal circulating sugar in the blood of your cat as well as the major energy source. It is also critical in cellular respiration.
Thiamine is not stored in your pet's body and the only way they can get it is either from their diet or by supplements. Thiamine deficiency will happen very rapidly in cats that are fed a very high diet of raw fish, as they contain an enzyme called thiaminase. This enzyme destroys what little thiamine your cat does get, causing a deficiency.
The symptoms of thiamin deficiency will start with a loss of appetite, followed by a weight loss. The next set of symptoms will be the loss of your cat's reflexes, followed by a loss of their nervous system. If it is left untreated, it will take your pets life very quickly.
Niacin plays a very important role in assisting your cat's enzymes to function properly. It helps open their blood vessels wider and as a result it is has very strong detoxification properties. It is also one of the five vitamins that are associated with pandemic deficiency diseases and in humans the disease is pellagra.
In cats the disease is called black tongue or sore mouth disease, but is the same as pellagra. This critical vitamin is found abundantly in meat as well as meat bi-products, but it is virtually non-existent in vegetables and grains. Cats are carnivores and they must get their meat. This deficiency is almost always caused by an owner that formulates their own cat food and does not include meat.
Also known as Vitamin B2, this vitamin is essential in promoting normal growth, muscle development, and building your cat's hair coat. However, it does much more as it helps to convert carbohydrates into glucose which is the fuel that your pet's body runs on. This vitamin also metabolizes fats and proteins. It's most important function, however, is its role as an antioxidant in scavenging damaged particles in your cat known as free radicals.
But it has one other major role, and that is converting Vitamin B6 and folate into active forms in your cat. A deficiency of riboflavin will stunt your cat's growth, cause eye abnormalities, and can also cause weakness in the rear legs of your pet. As the deficiency intensifies, it can also produce fainting spells and may eventually lead to heart failure.
Also known as Vitamin B5, it plays an important role in your cat in the secretion of hormones that help with the functions of the adrenal gland. It also helps these hormones in metabolism as well as fighting allergies. Other important roles it plays include the maintenance of healthy skin, muscles, and nerves.
The process of making cat food hits this vitamin especially hard and almost entirely depletes it. Deficiency symptoms will include hair loss, diarrhea, and gastric problems. However, the most prevalent deficiency is muscle weakness and cramps in your cats, which can make it difficult for your pet to walk.
This nutrient is also known as Vitamin B6 and it is abundant in several food groups. However, this vitamin is almost totally destroyed in the manufacturing process. Its major role in your cat is as a cofactor in many reactions with amino acid metabolism. Deficiencies of this vitamin can quickly lead to anemia, poor growth, and kidney stones.
Other symptoms will include a sharp increase in problems with the teeth, especially cavities, as well as skin lesions. If it is severe enough, it will take your cats life.
Folic Acid and Vitamin B12:
These two vitamins are very closely linked and they are almost also discussed in unison. These vitamins help to regulate the formation of red blood cells and to keep iron functioning properly in your cat's body. They are critical in the bone marrow production of red blood cells, and a deficiency will lead very quickly to advanced anemia.
With this type of anemia in your cat the white blood cells are reduced as the red blood cells are much larger than they would normally be.
Biotin plays an absolutely critical role in maintaining healthy skin and hair in your cat. It is perhaps the most discussed vitamin as it is necessary for proper growth, digestion, and muscle formation and function. It is also critical for litter development as it assists in reproduction distribution.
Biotin can be destroyed by oxidation in the presence of rancid fats which are often found in cheap cat food. It can also be destroyed by feeding your cat raw eggs or egg whites. Biotin deficiency will cause dermatitis, loss of hair, loss of muscle coordination, and in severe cases it can paralyze your cat.
B vitamins for cats play an important role in everyday functions as well as functions that are crucial for maintaining a normal and healthy lifestyle. These water soluble vitamins need to be replaced daily, and supplementing them may be the only way to insure that your cat is not threatened with a deficiency.